Even as millions around the world remain glued to the World Cup on their screens this week, it’s important to take note of other major tech news that’s about to affect our screens. In case you missed it, here’s a quick roundup of the highlights from Google I/O 2014—the annual Google developer conference taking place this week—featuring what’s to come in the year ahead for web, mobile, and other innovative technologies.
1. Android One
This new initiative to bring mobile technology to emerging markets will debut in India. The goal is to reach 5 billion users who don’t currently have a smartphone.
How it can help your business: More people will see your app and interact with your business in new ways. This will dramatically increase the likelihood of engaging new audiences and ultimately more business.
2. Material Design
Material Design is a new theme for apps, including new animation support and 3D views with real-time shadows. Google is unifying design language across every screen and every mobile device. Colors, iconography, hierarchy and spatial relationships will remain constant throughout the end-user experience.
How it can help your business: Consumers who download your app will be engaged on a deeper level. Material Design will retain engagement even if the user switches devices, making for a more personal experience. In time, this could have dramatically positive effects on brand recognition and leadership.
3. ‘L’ OS
This new operating system for Android promises to increase overall performance, including new design, new interface and faster download times for all mobile apps.
How it can help your business: More responsive apps make for a better consumer experience. Consumers are more likely to complete a transaction if the experience is fast, efficient and seamless. This could have a dramatic effect on your app’s performance.
4. Android Wear
New wearable mobile devices will allow users to get information quickly and easily, all on their wrists. Available in square or circle styles, Android Wear resembles a watch and will allow businesses to stay engaged with app users continuously. That being said, these watches will likely remain early adopter-centric for now, particularly given the initial $200-220 price points.
How it can help your business: Android Wear will provide several new ways to engage consumers through mobile apps. For example, through integrations with Pinterest, users can be notified about locations posted and pinned by people they follow on Pinterest. Android Wear’s Eat24 app will allow consumers to order food on the go from their wrists.
5. Android Auto
Developed out of the Open Automotive Alliance, this new system makes navigation powered from a mobile device and projected on to the dashboard, easier. Android Auto is contextually aware, to minimize distraction.
How it can help your business: Yet another way for businesses to engage potential consumers, messaging apps will be able to use Android Auto API to communicate with drivers safely and in real time.
6. Android TV
Not to be confused with Google TV, this new platform promises to more cohesively tie together features and devices that make content consumption easier. Android smartphones will be compatible as functional remote controls. Mobile devices will also be able to “cast” things on the Android TV, similar to Chromecast but without hardware. Consumers will also be able to use Android Wear in a similar “remote control” capacity.
How it can help your business: The new platform will dramatically increase the reach of your app. Showing apps on television screens will literally bring mobile marketing into consumers’ living rooms—arguably giving them the same power as paid TV programming.
One of the most intriguing parts of Google I/O was the fifteen minutes they spent previewing the cross-platform capabilities of Chrome, Chrome OS and Android. This contextually aware, connected dynamic will challenge the existing design, development and user experience paradigms. We’ve spent the last five years saying that we need to learn to speak to users on the devices they use most: their mobile phones. This new cross-platform dynamic promises something even greater—to continually engage the user in the right voice, with the right message and experience, across every platform in their lives. This has the potential to further empower any business or brand, allowing business owners to enjoy a continuous connection to customers—regardless of the medium or device they’re on.